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Old 02-07-2017, 03:11 PM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

I know that 'normal' federal prisoners are in the custody of the arresting agency, usually only until they've seen a judge, at which point they are either released or may be detained in a facility under the jurisdiction of the BOP or either a private or publicly-run prison under the ICE if they are insufficiently American. If a person accused of a federal crime is transported anywhere after they enter federal custody, the US Marshals Service will handle that transport.

Military personnel suspected of crimes can be taken into custody by local law enforcement, but if the offence takes place on a military base or while deployed on active duty, it is more usual for MPs and then, if the matter is sufficiently serious,CID of their branch to take them into custody. The same applies if someone under the UCMJ was originally arrested by civilian law enforcement, but a decision is made to try them by court martial, it is usually CID that transports them to the court.

For our ongoing supers/technothriller game set in the modern day, Project Jade Serenity, I've got a few questions about edge cases.

1) What happens when someone, let's say for the sake of argument, a Private (E-2) of the US Army in a 91X (now 68X) Mental Health Technician MOS commits a crime on a military base, let's say Camp Mackall, but is found incompetent to stand trial for reasons of insanity?

Does Army CID turn them over to a federal mental hospital (like St. Elizabeths) or a state mental facility* willing to take custody, as would happen with any other federal prisoner in that situation?

And is that the end of Army CID involvement in that particular case, with the Attorney General now being responsible for the inmate?

2) From what I can tell, prisoner transport belongs to the US Marshals by tradition and from the practical reason that they have expertise and organisation for it. The legal requirement seems to be only that a Federal law enforcement officer have custody of a federal prisoner. Would it be very implausible for a federal prisoner who was considered to have vital information in a national security investigation under the Department of Homeland Security to be remanded into the custody of Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations or other LEOs (1811) under the DHS?

3) Who has custody over military service members convicted at court martial if they have to be transported to attend a federal trial outside the system of military justice? Do they receive an escort of irritated CID agents who have nothing to do with the case in question or are they remanded into the custody of the US Marshals Service as federal prisoners during transport?

4) Could the USDB at Fort Leavenworth legally turn over custody over a service member convicted at court martial to civilian federal law enforcement for a temporary period? Would they, if the DHS made the case that this was vital for an important investigation with national security implications?

Edit: I've resurrected this thread on the slightly related subject of daily life in USDB Fort Leavenworth from 2011-2017 and what kind of popular culture (TV shows, sports events, movies, news, etc.) a character incarcerated there in that time might have been exposed to and what he would have missed entirely.

*Of the state in which the soldier was domiciled, presumably.
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Old 02-07-2017, 03:19 PM   #2
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

Not a lawyer, but I think military personnel in military custody tend to stay in military custody, so in almost none of those cases are they going to be transferred to civilian agencies unless they first receive a discharge (either a criminal one through a Special or General court martial or an administrative or medical discharge).
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Old 02-07-2017, 04:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

Military hospitals have mental wards. A military criminal found not culpable by reason of mental disease would be held in one of those.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Not a lawyer, but I think military personnel in military custody tend to stay in military custody, so in almost none of those cases are they going to be transferred to civilian agencies unless they first receive a discharge (either a criminal one through a Special or General court martial or an administrative or medical discharge).
For someone with an enlistment that was originally supposed to run 2-year active duty, 6 year reserve, when would a discharge come in effect if they committed a crime in the second year of their active duty and were found unfit to stand trial?

Assuming that the US Army wanted the criminally insane soldier to have minimal contact with outside visitors and none at all with media, would it be more effective to discharge her or maintain her status as enlisted while she was institutionalised?

And for another soldier who enlisted in December 1997 and committed a crime in July 2011, when is he likely to be discharged? He was convicted subsequent to the crime, probably took at least nine months, maybe a year for the court martial to run its course. After that, he was incarcerated in Fort Leavenworth for a long time.*

Edit: Apparently, 30 years. A similar crime seven years ago actually received a sentence of 65 years for unpremeditated murder, but confinement exceeding 30 years was disapproved by the convening authority. That's pretty much a direct precedent, so 30 years imprisonment it is.

Does he remain an enlisted member of the US Army, albeit E-1 (referred to as Inmate no. [insert no.] without pay or benefits, for the entire duration of his sentence? Irrespective of when his enlistment would ordinarily run out?

Assume that his initial enlistment was MOS 11x with Option 20 for Airborne and RIP for four years active duty. I don't know when the option comes up to re-enlist, if you have to do it when entering SFQC or when you finish it or whenever, but I expect that he re-enlisted sometime between 1999-2001, with the odds being that he did it soon after February 2000, if anyone was asking about it by then (at that time he had 21 months left of his initial enlistment contract).

*What would a motiveless killing of a civilian unknown to the perpetrator be likely to get him? Took place in the US, not on a military base, victim was a middle-aged white male. There might have been reason to believe that PTSD or another psychological issue contributed to the act, with the apparently earnest claim being made in defence that the soldier 'saw' the victim preparing to drive his truck into a crowd (which no one else saw, even people much closer to the victim), but the guilty soldier refused to plead insanity or diminished capacity.
Edit: And much good it would have done him, too. PTSD is general considered irrelevant to the issue of mental capacity to military sanity boards and even schizophrenia with severe delusions and hallucinations is not considered enough to impact that finding. Reading the case law, I'm finding it difficult to imagine what would constitute insanity to a military court.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

Criminal sentences include mandatory reenlistment for the duration of the sentence, as far as I can tell. Otherwise you wouldn't have people in Leavenworth serving hard time.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

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Criminal sentences include mandatory reenlistment for the duration of the sentence, as far as I can tell. Otherwise you wouldn't have people in Leavenworth serving hard time.
Fair enough.

So you'd expect MPs or Army CID to have custody of Inmate no. [insert no.] while he was transported to whereever the DHS wanted to interview him for the purposes of their national security investigation?
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
4) Could the USDB at Fort Leavenworth legally turn over custody over a service member convicted at court martial to civilian federal law enforcement for a temporary period? Would they, if the DHS made the case that this was vital for an important investigation with national security implications?

*Of the state in which the soldier was domiciled, presumably.
Doubtful that the Military would turn said person over into the care of only the DHS or even the US Marshals.

If Navy or Marine, they would probably at the very least have a pair of NCIS agents assigned as their babysitters/guards. Organization reports to the Sec of the Navy.
Air Force would be Office of Special Investigations. Organization reports to the Sec of the Air Force.
Army would be Criminal Investigation Command. Organization reports to Sec of the Army.

All three organizations are a mix of civilian and military personnel, with most personnel being civilian (with or without vet status).

By tradition, most law-enforcement organizations are VERY territorial, especially at the Federal level. After all whoever is in lead (in charge) of an investigation or operation is the one that gets all the credit and can pass blame onto the other organizations as hindering them (if under a joint investigation/operation).
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

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Fair enough.

So you'd expect MPs or Army CID to have custody of Inmate no. [insert no.] while he was transported to whereever the DHS wanted to interview him for the purposes of their national security investigation?
Yes, and they would most likely never leave the inmate alone with DHS personnel.
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Fair enough.

So you'd expect MPs or Army CID to have custody of Inmate no. [insert no.] while he was transported to whereever the DHS wanted to interview him for the purposes of their national security investigation?
DoD is likely to retain custody at all times, I think, for one thing the prisoner is still a serviceman and they are responsible for his welfare. I would imagine that under these circumstances DHS would send agents to whatever military facility the prisoner was detained at.
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Custody of federal prisoners convicted at court martial or unfit for trial

Military prisoners are not service members for the duration of their sentence -- they are prisoners. They don't have rank, receive no pay or benefits, and (inter alia) don't wear any military insignia. Any sentence served is in addition to their contracted enlistment. If the offense is serious enough to warrant incarceration at Fort Leavenworth it probably includes a dishonorable discharge, however, effective immediately upon release.

CID is the Criminal Investigation Division -- think detectives. Once they present their evidence at trial, they are out of the picture. There is an entire MOS within the Military Police trained for prison work, as well as POW and displaced civilian operations in wartime. They would be the ones transporting any military prisoners.

It is almost certainly logistically simpler for the Disciplinary Barracks to arrange a secure interview room in their own facility and have DHS (or whoever) come to visit the prisoner there, than to transport him somewhere else. (Of course, if the investigation requires the fixed Alien Mind Reading Squids facility in Area 51, that would change things.)

The psych wards in military hospitals are not set up for long term care. As far as I know, a patient declared permanently incompetent would receive a psych discharge and be turned over to whatever mental hospital is handy. Someone who poses a national security risk -- given what he knew before he cracked -- might be sent to St. Elizabeth's for special safekeeping.

Murder and manslaughter are punishable "as a court martial may direct," up to and including death or life in prison for premeditated murder or murder in commission of some other major crime (rape, etc.). If premeditation can't be proved, the prosecutor will probably try for a manslaughter conviction.
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